Friday, June 5, 2015
Ever since I was a child I have had a love affair with books. I know I am not alone in this. Can you remember the first books you fell in love with? I can't quite, but I've been told that they were Chicken Little
a farm animal book, and that I tortured the adults in my life with requests to read and reread them until I had them memorized. Then I made everyone listen to me as I "read" to them. I guess what goes around, comes around and now my life is filled with a granddaughter who follows close at my side, begging, "Book!" "BOOK!" and carrying a couple books with her. The three choices all have farm animals in them, and she patiently turns the pages until the cows show up. Brown cows or black and white, photograph or cartooned, she begins mooing and looks expectantly at me as I have to perform, again and again, my only really good animal impersonation, a deep rumbling moo that leaves my glasses vibrating until my nose tickles and her hand rests on my chest where the vibration makes her giggle.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
I realize there are only so many plots in the world, and it is how we take in the world around us, take it apart, mix it up and give it our own special twist that makes each storyteller still have something only we can share because only we have experienced our unique life.
So in Duffy's world, you can see the fact that I work with handicapped children and the fact that I love being out in nature far more than being in a city, and that I believe there is strength and joy in diversity. The times have changed since I started telling these stories. Even the way I write them and share them has evolved. My first manuscript was written on a typewriter, then when I got a computer, scanned page by page into it. Then I had to go through and change everything the scanner had misread, like g's turned into s, or worse.
Then I edited once on screen and printed it out and read it out loud to my husband and both sons, who were in Jr. high by then but went on long car trips with us when they were a captive audience.
|Duffy's "first printing" and the "books" I wrote in grade school|
|The first proof copy|
Even since I did print that novel in 2010, things keep changing, giving both authors and readers more options as time moves quickly in the book world now. Kindle and Nook readers seemed incredible with their replica of the printed page at first, and now have kept evolving to come in color and interactive, have kept changing what can be done. I'm slowly evolving and learning some of the new tricks like actually getting my hand drawn map into pic monkey and adding color, but there is so much more to learn, and the skills of other artists and authors and editors keep it exciting.
The most exciting thing of all to me though, is that once my books started finding readers, I had to realize they were not just mine anymore. I might have given them to the world, but each reader adds their own interpretation, and takes away different things. If I write that someone is in a house and I'm seeing a cabin, I can't always know how each reader will visualize the house unless I have been really specific, do they see a plank house, a trailer, an apartment? I don't control Duffy and friends anymore, now they have slipped into the world as surely as my sons have done.
|Princess SeaBee and Boo|
Friday, March 6, 2015
I like to think of myself as a writer. Ever since I was a child that is one of the happier labels I have applied to myself. When I was a child, a preschooler, I was a talker. My Dad said I had been "vaccinated with a record needle and never stopped talking since." Yet, as I started school, and learned that the other kids didn't like my non stop talking, and the fact that as an only child until just before I started school had created a child with no idea how to play well with others. I got slapped down hard, and rejected many times and it wasn't until the end of high school that I started to make friends and realize that I could both talk and listen.
So in school my best friends were the characters in books, and I have always considered myself an introvert. It goes well with being the person who observes and records instead of interacting. I curled up with my notebook, or hunched over a desk, and rarely made eye contact or had to speak.
Oddly enough though, when my brother was born with Down's syndrome and I learned to work with him, I also learned to be a teacher, and to work in front of large groups of children. But that was separate. I could talk to a class, and I could write - but I was too introverted to talk about my books out loud, so on-line I talked, in person I listened. But Marketing books means you have to believe in them, AND you have to be their loudest, most vocal word of mouth advocate. If I believed someone would love my story, nothing would happen until I would open my mouth and tell them why they would love my book.
So I wrote Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog, and very few people read it, even though I loved it, and the ones who did read it were positive. Then I wrote Double Time on the Oregon Trail, and I started talking about it to 5th grade students who were studying the Oregon Trail, and then to a 5th grade teacher, who passed it to a School District Director of Curriculum who authorized the Instructional Media Center to order a class set of 38 copies. Then another 5th grade teacher convinced her book club to read it and asked me to come to their meeting and talk about it. I was scared, but brought my handwritten draft, and some research, and some old storied I wrote in 5th grade myself and talked, and they listened and asked questions and it was fun.
But what did I learn? I learned you can't point out where the glasses and the garbage can are, and serve the food, and sit down and present about how you wrote a book, or ask the questions you want your readers to answer about what worked and where they loved, or hated my book. Going into classes as an author presenter has been fun and satisfying. Presenting in someone else's home as an author at their book club, I was focused and had planned ahead what to tell them and which questions to ask. In my home I kept wandering out of the conversation, and still missed a lot of what they said about my book
So, when you want to market your book to book clubs, it is a good idea. You do get a group of people willing to spend time and money on your book, but if you find yourself thinking about hosting the book club, find a partner, and focus for that evening, on being a speaker, speaking passionately about a book you really believe in.
|Double Time On The Oregon Trail|
|My old, chilly, very Green living room|
|Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog|
Amazon's Dixie Dawn Miller Goode Page - You can view it at:http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004458ES2
Twitter link: http://twitter.com/#!/pandorasecho
Twitter # 2; http://twitter.com/#!/DuffyBarkley
Author Blog: http://duffybarkley.blogspot.com/
Blog # 2: http://echo-echosvoice.blogspot.com/
Book Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult/children's picture books
Sunday, February 15, 2015
It was a four day, Valentine's Day weekend, with a no student Friday the 13th followed by President's Day. It could have been a perfect weekend to spend with my husband of 31 years, but we both had plans, 1,000 miles apart. While he gathered his Choir students and flew to Spokane for the all Northwest Music Festival, I was headed only an hour from home, to the 20th annual South Coast Writer's Conference. With a few miles of extra driving just to take advantage of the incredibly warm weather and gorgeous beaches between my home and 50 miles north of Gold Beach near the Bandon Cheese and Ice Cream at Facerock Creamery
and Old Town Bandon and the best divinity and fudge ever at the Big Wheel
|Lighthouse from the Art friendly fishing Docks at Bandon|
|finding a valentine message on the beach|
|at face rock beach|
here is the post from my other blog about how I learned to overcome writer's block
here is the post from my other blog about how I learned to overcome writer's block
Monday, February 2, 2015
So there you have it. My life has been fun and creative and semi-productive. I hope yours has as well. Welcome to February. And to Cody, and Little Grandma, you are remembered.